This section covers legal issues related to construction and related investments.

  1. Is it possible to make changes to the construction design without office validation?
  2. Are the norms cited in legal acts obligatory?
  3. Is the importer of equipment / installations responsible for fulfillment the fire protection conditions of the sold products?

Is it possible to make changes to the construction design without office validation?

The answer is clear: yes, you can, and even you should.

First, it should be noted that a construction project has three functions:

  1. It constitutes an attachment to obtaining a building permit.
  2. It is the design basis for the construction of a given facility. It concerns smaller investments, but it is very important there, as it also constitutes real executive documentation.
  3.  It is the basis for official acceptance (District Buildings Inspector, State Fire Service, sanitary and epidemiological station).

The first function is slightly different in the matter of changes, because for its purposes it is required that any changes to the construction design after the building permit has been issued do not constitute “significant changes” within the meaning of the Construction Law Act, otherwise you must apply for replacement building permit.

The list of so-called “significant” changes is currently short, while design and construction often live on until their completion, resulting in “insignificant” discrepancies in the understanding of the Building Law. And this brings us to the next two functions of a construction project, because:

  • the construction design, as executive documentation, should be up-to-date,
  • official approvals should be carried out for compliance with the construction design, and any discrepancies may be the basis for comments made in post-inspection reports.

In connection with the above, such changes (insignificant within the meaning of the Construction Law) should be introduced to the construction design, and more precisely in its copies belonging to the ordering party and the construction manager, without reporting it to the office.

The form of these changes has not been specified anywhere, but for formalities it is best to introduce them in the form of validated red-correx by the formal author of the construction project and the fire appraiser who agreed on this construction project, provided that the change may affect the conditions of fire protection.

Are the norms cited in legal acts obligatory?

Contrary to the myths circulating around the country, the answer is: they are not obligatory.

According to the Standardization Act, as well as many judgments of Polish courts, including the Supreme Administrative Court, the application of standards in Poland, including PN standards, is only voluntary.

Possible reference to a given standard in a legal act, e.g. in the Regulation of the Minister of Infrastructure Technical conditions … does not create a necessary condition for its application, but constitutes a specific interpretation of the message of the authors of the legal act as to the standards of implementation of the criteria contained in it.

The second part of the above sentence is the key, i.e. the application of a given Eurocode standard is not obligatory, despite the fact that they were referred to in the aforementioned Regulation, however, failure to meet the technical minima contained in a given Eurocode standard may constitute the basis not only for discussions with supervision inspectors but also to financial claims, and in extreme cases (catastrophe) will be an important position on the prosecutor’s list.

Summing up, it is possible not to apply the standards contained in legal acts, but then the given solutions should be justified in a different way, e.g. by citing other recognized standards (Polish or global) or technical opinions of recognized technical experts (preferably institutions).

I sincerely advise against using original ideas of designers or contractors without the above justification.

Is the importer of equipment / installations responsible for fulfillment the fire protection conditions of the sold products?

The answer is: definitely yes.

I know that this is often very surprising for many importers introducing various non-fire safety products to the Polish market.

Such a shock was once experienced by the importer of a washer for painting tools, the washing process was based on the use of solvents, which resulted in an explosion hazard zone – Zone 1 inside the device. The device was technically OK, but according to the ATEX Directive it should have a number of documents, e.g. a declaration of conformity and a declaration to an accredited laboratory in the EU, and this importer did not know about it. He thought it was the manufacturer’s problem, but the manufacturer was from outside the EU and knew nothing about it either.

In accordance with the Fire Protection Act (Journal of Laws of 1991, No. 81, item 351, as amended) Art. 6. 3 . The obligation to meet the fire protection requirements is also imposed on the manufacturers of machines, devices and other products as well as the purchaser of foreign licenses or machines, devices and other imported products.

The result of the above was the lack of documents that are necessary for placing on the market, and in particular for the use of a given device, which resulted in a remark during the National Labor Inspectorate’s inspection limiting the use of the washer until the formal aspect was settled.

This Act is very rarely read by people from outside the fire protection environment, and this is a mistake, because there are also duties directed at owners and users of buildings, as well as designers, including devices completely unrelated to fire safety.